Via Zerohedge

Israel’s Likud just made the Democratic Party look almost competent by comparison.

According to Haaretz, Likud, the party of embattled Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, accidentally uploaded a complete register of Israelis registered to vote (a massive chunk of the population), including their full names, identity numbers, addresses as well as other revealing information like phone numbers and emails.

Though most of the information was likely public (Google searches can often turn up an individual’s full name, address, relations and even phone  numbers and email addresses sometimes), at least some of it undoubtedly wasn’t. Plus, by leaking all of it in a searchable register, Likud just exposed nearly every Israeli citizen to cyber fraud and identity theft, while also empowering stalkers, peeping toms and other creeps.

The party said the leak impacted 6,453,254 Israelis.

Private voter information is a closely guarded secret of Israel’s political parties, and they are typically entrusted to use this info only if they keep it well protected. More Israelis might try to conceal their info from parties after this, say perhaps by effectively giving up the right to vote by never registering.

Parties make explicit commitments to safeguard this data, including commitments not to share it with any “third parties.” They’re also obligated to erase the information after the election is over.

Likud has yet to release a statement about the leak. On Netanyahu’s official twitter page, the PM mostly tweeted about a settlement leader and news reports that painted his primary political rival, Benny Gantz, in a negative light.

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Like with Iowa, cyber security experts told Haaretz that they warned Likud about holes in the app.

Anonymous sources explained the nature of the error to Haaretz, and also told the paper that Likud was first alerted to the breach by an anonymous tipster.

According to information obtained by Haaretz, as well as Noam Rotem and Ido Kenan of the Cybercyber podcast, a vulnerability in the application allowed for anyone to easily download the entire voter registry. The only known leak of a similar magnitude occurred in 2006, when an Interior Ministry employee stole the population registry and distributed it illegally.

Haaretz received an anonymous tip about the security lapse, allowing anyone to obtain the leaked information in its entirety without using sophisticated tools. Right-clicking on the Elector app’s home page and choosing “view source” revealed the original code of the internet page. The code revealed all the usernames and passwords of system admins, allowing one to log in and download the registry.

The anonymous tipper also provided Haaretz with personal details of powerful people in Israel. It is unknown how many people gained access to the data and downloaded it. However, the application has users in various countries abroad, among them the United States, China, Russia and Moldova.

Others have reported that the app violated Israel’s election laws governing the creation of databases warehouses private voter data. Two lawyers have filed a petition demanding a temporary restraining order barring anyone from using the app.

TheMarker and the online media affairs magazine Ha’ayin Hashivi’it revealed in recent days that the app, which Shas and Yisrael Beiteinu also use, enables the creation of databases that violate the privacy protection law because it invites users to provide additional information about the names of acquaintances who might vote for Likud – including their telephone number (which is not included in the voter registry).

TheMarker and the online media affairs magazine Ha’ayin Hashivi’it revealed in recent days that the app, which Shas and Yisrael Beiteinu also use, enables the creation of databases that violate the privacy protection law because it invites users to provide additional information about the names of acquaintances who might vote for Likud – including their telephone number (which is not included in the voter registry).

Thus, thanks to Likud members, much more information that had been in the hands of the party was revealed in the massive leak. It is not entirely clear which additional information was included in the database, and Haaretz declined to conduct a more comprehensive check lest it violate the law.

Dr. Anat Ben David, a senior lecturer in the Open University’s department of sociology, political science and communications, and Nir Yasur, an expert on analyzing information systems, reviewed the system and discovered that anyone could download the app, use it and easily identify an existing user. In the wake of the discoveries, attorneys Shahar Ben-Meir and Yitzhak Aviram petitioned the Central Elections Committee to issue a temporary restraining order against use of the application.

Unfortunately for Netanyahu, the scandal is drawing attention away from his latest initiative pushing for the immediate annexation of West Bank settlements ahead of the March 2 vote where he will try to hold his coalition together and remain in office. Otherwise, he could be exposed to prosecutors who have indicted him on corruption charges. Opponents are warning that Netanyahu’s latest actions risk jeopardizing the Trump peace plan.

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But coming so soon after Iowa, the incident virtually guarantees more scrutiny from the western press over the next three weeks until the March 2 election.

In other words…